Mesoscopic structure and social aspects of human mobility

James P. Bagrow, Yu-Ru Lin

The individual movements of large numbers of people are important in many contexts, from urban planning to disease spreading. Datasets that capture human mobility are now available and many interesting features have been discovered, including the ultra-slow spatial growth of individual mobility. However, the detailed substructures and spatiotemporal flows of mobility - the sets and sequences of visited locations - have not been well studied. We show that individual mobility is dominated by small groups of frequently visited, dynamically close locations, forming primary "habitats" capturing typical daily activity, along with subsidiary habitats representing additional travel. These habitats do not correspond to typical contexts such as home or work. The temporal evolution of mobility within habitats, which constitutes most motion, is universal across habitats and exhibits scaling patterns both distinct from all previous observations and unpredicted by current models. The delay to enter subsidiary habitats is a primary factor in the spatiotemporal growth of human travel. Interestingly, habitats correlate with non-mobility dynamics such as communication activity, implying that habitats may influence processes such as information spreading and revealing new connections between human mobility and social networks.

Knowledge Graph

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